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Professor Steve Jacobson in Ghana.

Published January 22, 2019

Understanding education inequality in North America and Africa

School of Management and Graduate School of Education in collaborative partnership with University of Cape Coast in Ghana

Dorothy Siaw-Asamoah, clinical assistant professor in the UB School of Management, formed a partnership with the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to allow students to study abroad in Ghana. The partnership focuses on three themes related to social innovation and entrepreneurial leadership: economic development, education and healthcare. Siaw-Asamoah brought aboard Stephen Jacobson, UB Distinguished Professor from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy (ELP), to teach classes in Ghana and bring GSE students with him overseas.

“My experience of taking students abroad opens their eyes because we are somewhat isolated in the United States from a global perspective,” Jacobson said. “Everyone wants to go visit a country that is excelling in education, but there is more to learn by going to places that are still evolving and putting together the system, so you get a sense of what it is like.”  

Michael Boakye-Yiadom, a UCC professor has been collaborating with ELP and intends to bring his students to UB so they can understand education and economic inequality in the United States. “There is a perception of my students that the United States is a universally rich country,” Boakye-Yiadom said. “I want my students to realize that things like education are not equal for everybody in the United States.”

Nathan Daun-Barnett, ELP professor and chair, is helping to facilitate the process of this partnership and encourage GSE students to travel to Ghana. According to Daun-Barnett, the important component of this study abroad experience for GSE students is to understand the economic and education inequalities in other cultures, so they can think differently about their own education compared to the rest of the world. “A trip to a different country gives students the chance to discuss inequality issues and have conversations regarding these significant topics,” said Daun-Barnett who also notes that this collaboration is a way to bring the countries together and help students understand perspectives from a different country.

“The most transformative experience for students is studying abroad,” Daun-Barnett said. “Students will become better educators if they take the opportunity to reflect on a different cultural experience.”

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